Broad Policy –
- The Congress pledges to press for the Constitutional Amendment to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and in Vidhan Sabhas for women.
- It will launch a movement for the effective implementation of social legislation such as for minimum age at marriage, anti-dowry, curbing atrocities on women, anti-sati, widow welfare, etc. as well as for minimum wages for enhancing women’s welfare.
- Stern measures will be taken to ensure the elimination of female foeticide and infanticide. Marriage registration will be made mandatory.
- 30% of all funds flowing into panchayats and nagarpalikas will be earmarked for programmes relating to the development of women and children and focus on the special needs of female agricultural labour and women cultivators.
- Village women and their associations will be empowered to assume responsibility for all development schemes relating to drinking water supply, sanitation, primary education and health, nutrition, biogas, maintenance of water pumps and borewells and farm forestry.
- Complete legal equality for women in all spheres will be made a practical reality, especially by removing discriminatory legislation, by giving them equal share in matrimonial property, by protecting their rights to matrimonial homes and ‘streedhan’, by giving them equal rights of ownership of assets like houses-and land All states will be encouraged to set up family courts at the earliest.
- There will be a major expansion in schemes for micro-finance based on self-help groups, especially for tribal women, women belonging to scheduled castes, women below the poverty line, rural women and women in distress, and particularly in the backward and ecologically sensitive regions and actively encourage the functioning of producer and marketing cooperatives.
- Some states of India, particularly in the South, have already reached replacement levels of fertility while other states will do so over this decade.But on present reckoning, four-five states of India will be unable to reach this crucial milestone for decades.
- The Congress will take the lead in replicating the success of other states in those states where population growth continues unabated.
- Population planning is not just a government programme but must become a movement of civil society as well.
- A sharply targeted mobilization effort will be mounted in the 150-odd districts that still have unacceptably high levels of fertility
Reforms & Targeted Actions –
- For the first time, a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was established in 2006.
- The Commission’s mandate is to ensure that the welfare of children as guaranteed by various laws is protected and promoted.
- New laws have also been passed to prohibit child labour and child marriage.
- New schemes to improve the nutritional status of children, especially girls, and to educate them have been launched in the past five years.
- Over 18 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers have benefited from an increase in their remuneration last year.
- The Indian National Congress commits itself to the universalisation of the ICDS by March 2012 and to provide an anganwadi in every habitation and full coverage of children up to the age of six for food, nutrition and pre-school education.
- The special requirements of children of migrant workers in towns and cities will be met through new programmes in association with civil society organizations.
- A number of programmes have already been launched to combat the still widely-prevalent phenomenon of child malnutrition and these will be infused with an even greater sense of urgency.
- Girl children in districts that have an adverse sex ratio and/or low enrolment of girls, monetary incentives will be given to the girl child to be credited to the girl child’s account on her completing primary school, middle school, secondary school and higher secondary school.
The UPA Government has given greater focus to issues relating to women through creation of an independent Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Initiation of legislation that has taken the country closer to complete legal equality for women, gender budgeting and initiation of programmes for greater inclusion of women in all walks of life.
The UPA Government initiated the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which has given more effective protection to women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within a family and provided them a civil remedy to deal with such violence.
The UPA Government initiated changes the Hindu Succession Act, 1955 to make Hindu women’si nheritance rights in co parcenary property equal to that of men. Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 was passed
The UPA Government has introduced a bill in Parliament to amend the Factories Act, 1948 in order to provide flexibility in the employment of women at night while requiring the employer to ensure measures for safety and protection, and thereby generate employment opportunities for women.
Women’s Reservation Bill– The Rajya Sabha has passed the- Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008 providing for reservation for women in as nearly as one-third of the total seats of the Lok Sabha and of the State Legislative Assemblies,bill on 9th March 2010.
UPA remains committed to the passage of Women’s Reservation Bill to politically empower women
In 2009, The Cabinet approved the proposal for moving an official amendment to the Constitution (One Hundred and Tenth Amendment) Bill, 2009 for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats at all tiers from 1/3 to at least 50 per cent.
Many states have already implemented the 50% reservation of women in Panchayats and Urban Local bodies. The Constitution Amendment Bills in this regard, already introduced in the Parliament. Standing Committee Report tabled.
A High Level Committee (HLC) on the status of women has been constituted which shall undertake a comprehensive study to understand the status of women since 1989.
The HLC will prepare a report on the current socio-economic, political and legal status of women in India, and evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a contemporary assessment of women’s needs.
The UPA Government has introduced gender budgeting for improving the sensitivity ofprogrammes and schemes to women’s welfare.
The budgetary outlay for 100% women-specific has been rising each year.
The UPA government has set up the National Mission for Empowerment of Women on 8th March 2010, to secure inter-sectoral convergence of all pro-women/women centric programmes cutting across ministries/ departments, states and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
The activities of the mission will be overseen by the National Mission Authority, which is headed by the Prime Minister National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) began a unique initiative in 2011 – a new model of ‘convergence centres’ for women, called ‘Poorna Shakti Kendras’ dedicated to helping women access the benefits made available to them through various government programmes, in select districts of the country
State Mission Authorities have been notified by 18 States/ U.Ts and State Resource Centre for Women (SRCWs) have been set up in 6 States.
With a view to bringing in gender equality in personal laws, the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 22nd April 2010 providing for amendment to the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and the Hindu Adoption And Maintenance Act, 1956.
A new scheme of financial assistance and support services to victims of rape has been formulated to provide financial assistance to enable the victims of rape to cope with the trauma suffered and tide over their immediate and long-term needs.
The scheme seeks to restore the affected women to a position of dignity and self-confidence. The ceiling of financial assistance, together with support services, is Rs2.00 lakhs, which can be enhanced to Rs 3.00 lakhs in case of aggravated rape
UPA has passed The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in April 2013 to protect women’s right to equality, life and liberty.
After the gruesome incident of gangrape in Delhi, the UPA Govt has taken several steps in order to strengthen the whole gamut of criminal justice and administrative system
Committee of Three Eminent Jurists was Constituted by the Government. The Justice Verma Committee gave valuable and detailed suggestions for women safety, most of the recommendations are under implementation through various mechanisms.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act , 2013 has been passed by the Parliament– It’s a strong Anti-Rape law which advocates death penalty in rarest of rare rape cases.
Government initiates time-bound action plan to strengthen the police and administration to combat sexual crimes against women
- NCRB will compile a database of persons convicted of criminal offences. The details of criminals convicted of crimes against women will be displayed on their website.
- Action will be taken to provide the facility of registering an FIR in any police station irrespective of the jurisdiction or area of the time. The FIR may thereafter be transferred to the concerned police station for investigation.
- It is important that citizens should not face any harassment when they come forward to assist women in distress. For this, such citizens should be protected to enable them to freely report a crime and assist the victim/police without being subjected to any interrogation or being forced to become witnesses.
- ‘Women Only’ buses should be pressed into service. A programme is proposed to be undertaken for encouraging more women driven buses/taxis all over the country.
- Strict action will be taken against police personnel and officers found to be either displaying bias against women or neglecting their supervisory responsibilities in this regard.
- Training courses need to be organized on a regular basis, for gender sensitization among the police force, particularly at the level of the constabulary
- Government has constituted a Special Task Force headed by Union Home Secretary to look into the safety issues of women in Delhi and review the functioning of Delhi Police on an ongoing basis.
Women will need to be recruited in large numbers in the Delhi Police. MHA will take necessary action to obtain necessary approvals within this financial year (2013)
A proposal for 370 such vans has been sent by Delhi Police has been approved to man sensitive zonesThese PCR vans to atleast one lady police personnel
Department of Women and Child Development has starteda scheme to provide compensation to victims of sexual assault and also a scheme for setting up Crisis Response Centres in select hospitals to provide psychological and other assistance to the victims of sexual assault. Its working on a pilot phase in 100 districts from 2013-14.
The Government proposes to put in place a countrywide three-digit number (such as 100) to respond to all emergency situations. This would be similar like 911 or 990
181 is the additional helpline number dedicated to responding to women in distress.
Sustained awareness campaigns on gender equality are being undertaken in all schools and colleges and gender modules
Imparting training to girls in educational institutions in self defence/martial arts being encouraged
- 1.5 Crore Girls Get Low-Cost Sanitary Napkins under Promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls of rural areas in the age group of 10-19 years covering 152 districts of 20 states
- Budget 2013-14 proposes, an All Women Bank – For women, By Women and Of Women- to start functioning from October 2013.
- In Budget 2013-14 – Government Pledges to Empower Women and Keep them Safe and Secure : Nirbhaya Fund of Rs. 1,000 Crores Announced
- Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) is a centrally sponsored scheme which has been introduced in 52 selected districts. It is a conditional cash transfer scheme being implemented with a view to creating a better enabling environment for pregnant and lactating women
- ICDS Universalized With 12.95 Lakh Anganwadies Benefitting 959.22 Lakh Children
- UPA has introduced multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burden districts
- Prime Minister’s Council on India’s Nutrition is implementing a nationwide information, education and communication (IEC) campaign against malnutrition.
- Rajiv Gandhi for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls’ (RGSEAG) – SABLA is being implemented in 200 districts across the country on a pilot basis. It Benefits Around 47 Lakh Adolescent Girls
- Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers. 5 model crèches have been set up in Delhi on pilot basis with enhanced financial norms
Ujjwalla– A Scheme for Rescue, safe withdrawal of the victim from the place of exploitation was launched in December 2007. So for 162 projects including 81 Rehabilitation Homes have been sanctioned, spread over 17 States.
Dhanalakshmi – A Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme for Girl Child- “Dhanalakshmi” is being implemented in 11 Blocks across seven States on pilot basis
An amount of Rs. 7515.72 crores has been projected for various schemes/programme relating to Women to be implemented by the Ministry in the 12th Plan.
Working Women’s Hostel (WWH) Scheme envisages provision of safe and affordable hostel accommodation to working women. A 500 bed hospital was built in Jasola, Delhi for working women from the North East
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) with a corpus of Rs.100 crore extends micro-finance services to bring about the socio-economic upliftment of poor women.
Children and Child Rights
- The Union Cabinet approved the National Policy for Children, 2012.
- The Policy reaffirms the government`s commitment to the realisation of the rights of all children in the country.
- It recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and that childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own, and a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for the harmonious development and protection of children.
- The policy has identified survival, health, nutrition, education, development, protection and participation as the undeniable rights of every child, and has also declared these as key priority areas.
- A National Plan of Action will be developed to give effect to the policy and a National Coordination and Action Group (NCAG) will be constituted to monitor the progress of implementation. Similar plans and coordination and action groups will be constituted at the state and district levels.
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ensure that the principles of the policy are respected in all sectors at all levels
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) to provide safe and secure environment for children in 18 States has been implemented. Approximately 1 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under ICPS in 2011 itself